Need help on some serious apartment drama

bzkkFebruary 29, 2012

Hi everyone :) I will try to mention every detail that is relevant and keep it short.. but this has been a bit of a saga for a friend of mine and it's just reached its climax a few days ago.

Basically, the apartment in question is a 3-bedroom shared by my friend and his two sisters; one with child (respectively, the ages are 22, 19, 18 and 3). Their mother left to live in a different country so it's just them running the house. However, before she left she transferred rights to my friend so he is Head of Household. They're able to keep this apartment through Welfare and Section 8. He pays the rent but technically, it's no one's money but Uncle Sam's.

With that said... the oldest sister for some reason is always competing with him over who's in power etc., saying "I pay rent, get out" and now that it's his responsibility to cash the check he's saying HE pays rent... it's silly. They've been at it for months now. He honestly doesn't care about the title though and feels they all own the apartment equally. He'd gladly hand the title over to her (if it meant that much to her...) if not for the fact that she has been trying to kick him out of the house since their mom left, so he's scared he might be homeless. He only just got a job but it doesn't pay well and he's balancing it with school, so moving out on his own isn't an option in the near future. Why is she so persistent about kicking him out? I don't know. They don't get along (she gets violent with him) and I suspect she wants his room so her son can have it.

A few days ago, something happened. Her son's toys had been all over the living room floor for *days* and he'd finally had it and said "pick up after your son". She scoffs and says "they're just toys," and at this point he's lost his patience and said "if you don't like it [his rules?], there's the door". She then starts getting dramatic and is like oh, you're kicking me out! etc etc and goes on a rampage to get HIM out of the apartment, stormed out of the house and into the HACLA offices to try and get her own Section 8 (and failing), called the cops, called her relatives in hysterics, all these things. In the end she just hauled her stuff out and moved upstairs with the apartment manager (that's another story...)

I've had mixed feelings about the whole thing (only because of the little boy though, I could care less about her) but they signed an affidavit, if you will..? that stated she is no longer a resident of that unit. I don't know if you can even call it that, it was a paper actually written by him and the sister making a mutual agreement she no longer lives there, and was stamped and signed by the manager. This was all done under police supervision. The manager was recently fired however, and has to move out himself. She is now in a panic and plotting ways to get him out of the apartment.

SO... phew. If you're still with me, awesome. I really appreciate it. I guess my question is does she have any grounds? Is there a loophole in which she can gain custody of the apartment? I suspect if she takes him to court (if you can even take people to court over this? I don't actually know), the court will favor her because she's a single mom but at the same time, their Section 8 social worker is already aware that she's no longer a resident there and took her name out of the program. I just worry for my friend, I don't want him being blindsided. He has nowhere to go.

My advice to him was to just take her back for the child's sake, and after some prodding he actually did extend her hand to her and offered but she said "not until you're out of there." Advice? :( If anything, thank you so much for taking the time. I know I failed on keeping it short. @_@

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Oh and we're in California, if that helps.

    Bookmark   February 29, 2012 at 5:22AM
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You need to find out the specific laws for California and Section 8. Try googling "tenant landlord law California" and "Section 8 California."

But really, why would your friend want to take his sister back in? They don't get along at all. Inviting her back to live in the apartment is just going to cause more drama.

If his name is the only one on the lease, and the Section 8 people say she doesn't live there any more, I think he's safe.

I'm sorry for the little boy. If she really is homeless, your friend could always offer to take in his nephew, and let his sister deal with the mess she has created.

    Bookmark   February 29, 2012 at 7:40AM
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Agree with camlan, a lot depends on who is listed on the lease. If it's your male friend, I don't really get the need to sign a paper saying the sister is out. If the sister that signed the paper is on the lease, the proper way to handle her being out would rewrite a new lease removing her name and replace (or leave) remaining occupants on the lease. Benefits all parties. Exiting occupant is no longer responsible for rent, damages etc. and remaining parties are assured the exiting occupant has no legal access to the place.

One thing to check though as far as getting put out on the street (and where that signed paper might apply) are state residency laws. Those vary, maybe not even all states have them. As I understand, sometimes it's a small window of time, 2 or 3 consecutive weeks of occupying can be viewed as a residence, and eviction is required for removal. An example: heated argument, police are called. None of the parties have caused bodily harm to the other (or anything that could warrant being arrested). Person A is on the lease and wants person B (not on the lease) removed from the property. Only person B has been staying there 4 consecutive weeks, which both A & B admit to and agree on that point. Having no reason to arrest B, police will not remove Person B because that State's laws view anything 3 consecutive weeks or more as a residence. So it has to go through court. It would be worth a google. That's where the signed paper might be valid if the sister was never on the lease. The brother could simply show it as evidence she left, doesn't reside there, and not being a named Lessee has no rightful or legal access to the apartment.

Best thing for all concerned would be to live apart. Hopefully while the child is still provided with shelter. That power trip "get out..." nonsense tends to not go away. It's a form of trying to exert control. The child picks up on that arguing as well, which isn't a good thing to hear.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 11:06AM
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